It is the waiting time of year. Waiting for the first snow. Waiting for the leaves to fall off that last tree in front of the house. (and hoping it happens before the first snow). Waiting for the holidays. This year, waiting for the governmental transition. For kids it is waiting for presents and candies and a break from school. And, for kids, it can seem like the time for all these things is never going to actually get here.

While we are all in that waiting mode, as the wind whistles outside and the skies get dark mid-afternoon, maybe it’s a good time to curl up with your little one and a good book about…waiting.

Waiting by Kevin Henkes

An owl, a pig, a bear, a puppy, and a rabbit sat on a windowsill. Each one was waiting for something different. With spare language and soft, muted blues and greens and pinks, Henkes gives readers the sense of the thickness of waiting. Pegged for Preschool-K.

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Kraus and Crockett Johnson

A little boy planted a carrot seed. No one thought it would grow. He took care of it anyway. And he waited. But nothing came up. Everyone told him it would not grow. But he continued to take care of it. And then…

This book is over 70 years old and is still in print. A testament to its timeless quiet approach to waiting.

Pegged for ages 4-8.

Share your favorite books about waiting.

Grim Tales from the Brothers Grimm

When I was a little girl, I had lots of fears. They were vague and muddled, like a menacing cloud hanging over me: fear of the intimidating kids at school, fear of being chastised by my parents or a teacher. Then there was the fear of bombs. I didn’t even know exactly what an attack would look like, feel like, whether everything around me would fall to pieces, whether I would fall to pieces. But I thought about it every time we had an air raid drill and had to stand at our lockers with our hands over our heads. I wondered how assuming this position was supposed to protect us from anything at all.

Perhaps these fears are why I loved, loved, loved fairy tales. Each tale centered around an innocent person or persons who were given a seemingly undoable task in order to save themselves (and sometimes others) from something terrible. And you know what? Our heroes/heroines always figured out a way to save the day. And as I felt myself right alongside them, making decisions about how to solve the evils of the world, I loved, loved, loved that feeling.

So today I recommend – pick up a copy of Grimms Fairy Tales. Share them with your kids. Or sneak a late-night read for yourself. I won’t tell. ☺

You’re never too old!


As the NBA finals get underway, I am digging out my copy of my favorite basketball book!

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

This book is a perfect mix of basketball and just plain life. Twin boys are stars of their middle school basketball team, mentored by their father, a former professional basketball player. When one of the boys falls for his first girlfriend, spending more time with her and less time with his brother, the relationship between the twins becomes strained as the other twin struggles to find his place in the new configuration of relationships.

The plot kept me interested from beginning to end. But it is the writing that is one-of-a-kind. The author had me hooked from the very beginning all the way through. Written like a long poem, the word choices are delicious. And the rhythms add a musical quality that intensified my experience of the narrative. Listen to this: “My shot is FLOWING, Flying, fLuTtErInG OHHHHHHHH, the chains are JINGALING ringaling and SWINGALING Swish.”

I am not the only one who loves this book. The Crossover won top honors: the Newbery Award and the Coretta Scott King Award. A great read.

Pegged for grades 6-12.

In Memoriam

Memorial Day can be loads of fun with barbecues and parties and celebrating the return of summer (plus an extra day off from work or school!) It is also an opportunity to reflect on the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for us. Here’s a great book to read and discuss with your young child.

The Wall by Eve Bunting

A quiet book that conveys the mood invoked by the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. A little boy and his dad visit the Wall to honor his grandfather who died in Vietnam. As they search for the grandfather’s name, the little boy observes the color and texture of the Wall. He reflects on the various objects that have been left at the Wall by other visitors. And he asks questions, good questions, about the conundrum of how we, the living, should think about the soldier’s act of giving up his or her life for our country.

A good conversation-starter for you and your child this Memorial Day weekend.

Pegged for ages 4-7.

Ordinary Courage

So you want to talk to your kid about courage? Or maybe your kid comes to you and asks what courage means. Either way, here’s a book that is rich with food for thought and conversation.

Courage by Bernard Waber

This is not a storybook. It’s a book that explores many different ways to have courage – from the tall to the small. Like when it’s your turn to check on the night noises in the house, or to make sure nobody picks on your little brother, or when you’re trying to get up the spunk to sign your real name on a valentine to your secret crush. Courage is not just for famous heroes. It’s for ordinary people. It’s for you and me.

Pegged for ages 4-8.


Earth Day 2017 has come and gone. Trees and grass are greening up. The soil is coming to life after spending the last few months in a frozen state. Before we know it, we’ll be seeing what I call summer critters. Here’s a book to get your little ones excited!

The Worm by Elise Gravel

Ladies and gentlemen I present to you “The Worm.” “Enchante” says the worm. And so begins this appealing book that answers all your questions about worms. With warmth and humor. What kinds of worms are there? What body parts does a worm have? Where do worms live? (Eek! Some live inside people!)

Have some fun learning the facts….then get out there and meet yourself a worm. Enchante!

Pegged for ages 6-9.

Need Some Alone Time?!

Ever need some alone time? You know, you love your family, your friends, your co-workers and schoolmates, your kids… BUT! If you have to hear one more bit of chatter or listen to one more giggle, or “Mama pleeeeez” you think you might explode?! Here’s a book for you (and you can share it with your kids…they’ll recognize the situation immediately!)

Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brosgol

Grandma wants to knit. She has sweaters to make! But her many grandchildren are running around, getting into the yarn, raising a ruckus. Grandma’s had enough. She packs up and heads for the hills. But she’s not alone there either – a pack of bears is very interested in her knitting. So she climbs higher. Still not alone she climbs to the moon and then through a wormhole. Alone at last!

Brosgol’s words and illustrations come together to present vivid images that conjure up that all too familiar feeling of wanting to be alone. And the ending reminds us the feeling is only temporary. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Pegged for Preschool-2nd grade.

A Judge Grows in the Bronx

This week the United States Supreme Court returned to full strength. Here’s a really good intro to the life of Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Edel Rodriguez

As a child, Sonia found blossoms in the most unexpected place…around a chain link fence, near broken glass, next to an abandoned building. Using this metaphor, Winter tells the story of Sonia’s life from the high-poverty Latino community of the South Bronx to the Ivy League to the Supreme Court. It wasn’t easy. Not only did she grow up without much money but she had to face childhood diabetes and the death of her father. In college she felt socially out of place among her wealthy classmates. But like the flowers growing in harsh conditions, Sonia had a will to succeed and the tender care of her family that wanted to see her flourish. A great book for any child who experiences obstacles in life, an affirmation that even in challenging conditions, success is possible.

Pegged for grades K-3

The Magic of Eggs at Easter

Here I am closing out on my sixth decade. And yet I am tingling with anticipated joy at the thought of dying Easter eggs this Saturday. There is something so satisfying about the transformative process of dipping a white egg into a murky liquid and 5 minutes later pulling out that same egg, now bursting with color. Here’s a book that takes a different look but captures that same sense of possibility.

Egg by Kevin Henckes

Four eggs. One pink, one blue, one yellow, one green. Three of the eggs crack as expected. The fourth just sits. And sits. The newborn chicks from eggs 1-3 lend a little chick help. The fourth egg cracks. And out comes….something very different. The illustrations are infused with the joyful pastels of Easter. The simple text conveys the possibility of magic and miracle.

Pegged for ages Preschool-1st grade. Fun for adults like me!

Alphabet Activism

Today I took a walk over to my local bookstore to see what’s new. The children’s table is loaded with books related to issues in the news: women’s rights and Supreme Court justices. And a catchy little alphabet book that will have kids talking about coop communities and equality for all!

A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara

Alphabet books are great for supplying creative hooks to get your young ones to memorize the alphabet. This one uses the alphabet as a hook to get your kids familiar with an array of social concepts that can promote early understanding of the multi-faceted world we live in. And it provides a foundation for future conversations as your growing kids navigate the increasingly complex interactions with their community.

As the book title tips us off, A is for Activist. And, we learn as we read the first page, it is also for Advocate, Abolitionist, Ally, and Actively Answering A call to Action. From there, the book walks through all 26 letters, illustrating each in exuberant colors. One of my favorites: Y is for You and Yes!

Pegged for ages Preschool-2nd grade. And it might not be a bad refresher for older kids interested in making their mark on the world!

Share your favorite alphabet books!